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How To Write Better Cold Outreach Emails: 12 Lessons from Alex Berman

How To Write Better Cold Outreach Emails: 12 Lessons from Alex Berman

Ben: Cold email is a marketing channel I’ve recently come to appreciate even more. As the expert guest I interview below explains, it is a great leveler in that you can really reach some important people for basically no cost. So I have been pretty keen to learn more about this.

Alex Berman is the co-founder of Taplio, Experiment 27, and Leadshark and is an expert in cold email. I had been following his YouTube channel for a while and then noticed that he recently released a book about the topic. Using one of his frameworks in the book, I reached out to him myself to ask if he’d be open to sharing some tips about this on my podcast and he agreed to come on the show.

The article below is my summarised version of what Alex said. The answers are not direct quotations so you’ll have to listen to the audio once it is posted if you want to hear his exact words.

How to write better cold emails:

  1. Make sure it is worth your time. Aim for $2000+ lifetime value.
  2. If your lifetime value is low, target grouped prospects, like a large company.
  3. Only add already targeted and qualified leads to your targets list.
  4. Email one target position at a time.
  5. Use a genuine compliment as your ice-breaker.
  6. Know what solution you are selling, and why they should care.
  7. Add case study information to your email.
  8. Use a call to action at the end of your email, but not a Calendly link.
  9. Offer specific times to meet or call.
  10. Avoid emojis unless you have data to prove they work better.

Key links:

Tips for Writing Better Outreach Emails

Who is the right fit for cold email?

People who are the best fit for cold email are generally those who sell to other businesses. B2C businesses are generally not a good fit.

The price should be over $2000 lifetime value. If your combined lifetime value is under $2000 then you’re better off spending your time on organic channels. This is because you will need to spend money for lead generation, on the team, and invest a lot of time in meetings, etc.

However, I don’t think that this will remove a lot of SaaS companies from being able to use cold email.

What you need to do instead is target bigger accounts. For example, some companies will need hundreds of seats for your particular product and would be then a better target for cold outreach. Focus on booking meetings with big organizations.

What makes a good cold email?

There are three things to a good cold email. You need to send an email to the right target, with the right offer, and use a case today.

The right target here means that you are very specific and strategic in who you are sending the email. For example, is it directors of IT at Fortune 500 companies? Or, is it heads of marketing in a particular target industry of a certain size.

Offer means what are you selling these people? At a high level, what is the outcome that you are providing them? Is it a LinkedIn tool that does something in particular or is it a solution that you provide?

Finally, a case study is how you show them that you’ll be good at it. What results have you provided for similar people in their industry with your product or solution?

And that’s it really.

With these three things, you can start your emails with a compliment to break the ice.

When you do a compliment, don’t make it too broad. For example, something simple like, “Nice work. Keep it up.” This won’t be effective.

Also, don’t be too specific. For example, “I have been following you for the last five years and watched every episode that you have produced on your podcast and I liked your social post about your dog.” That is too much and too personal.

Why is a case study important?

The stronger and more specific your case study is in your email the better the response to your emails will be. Ultimately, it all comes down to being really good at your craft. This is the backbone of your cold email outreach.

How many people should you email at a single company at once?

It is recommended to hit one job title at a time. This is because the goals of your email will be different based on each person.

For example, if you’re talking to the director of human resources versus the CEO, you will need to use different messaging and different wording for your solution.

However, when in doubt start with the CEO.

How to transition from an icebreaker to a case study?

So your icebreaker will be the first line that you use to get somebody’s attention, and the case study is what you will use to develop their interest. But you need to mention what you actually do for us before getting into your case study.

Is it common mistake people make. You need to mention what you do for us before introducing your case study.

How do write a better case study?

An easy way to come up with a case study is to ask yourself, “How do I know that I’m qualified to do something?”

So for example, if you are a copywriter, think of a time you used copy to get a result for a particular client.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to have an amazing case study from the beginning. Just start somewhere and develop better case studies over time as you get more experience or you’re better able to draw results out of your work.

Is cold outreach different on LinkedIn?

For the actual requests on LinkedIn, I don’t recommend that you write a custom request. You can get similar better results by not using any message.

Ultimately connection on LinkedIn comes down to your profile picture and background.

But the message you send right after you are connected is going to be very similar to the cold email structure I’ve explained.

How to scale up your outreach efforts?

The major mistake and scaling up your outreach efforts is that you tried to get the same people to do everything. Generally, outreach is not one role.

You want to break up the roll into several parts. For example, lead generation and email sending as one role and potentially another for appointment setting.

Get your best closer taking calls only, and make full use of their time that way.

I break down how to build and scale an outreach team in detail in the book The Cold Email Manifesto.

What is a common mistake people make with cold email?

The biggest mistake people make with cold email is not having a case study.

But apart from this, another issue is that people send a lot of emails before they’re ready.

You need to make sure that you are sending something that people want so you need to research your targets. Sadly, a lot of people lost huge lists without writing an optimized script or selling something people want. Another issue is that even if they’re selling something that people want because they don’t have a case study, they’re not doing it in a good way.

Another mistake people make is to send from their main domain.

You need to make sure you have a second domain for cold outreach set up so that you can use it as a safety measure. If you end up in spam then you can simply buy another domain and keep going.

Do you get a second chance to send cold email?

Yes. I would ask you the question, “Do you remember the last person who sent you a bad cold email?”

You’re not on the list of people they remember if you’re accidentally done a bad job.

What CTA should you use?

Generally, sending Calendly links as a CTA tend to underperform across the industry.

You can think of Calendly as a landing page. When people click through, they probably see around 400 buttons. There are too many options and this will lower conversions.

Personally, I tend to use stuff like, “If you’re interested I can send over some times.” I try to get the appointment as fast as possible.

Remember that email is already targeted. You don’t need to do much qualification because that was done at the lead generation stage. You already researched who would be a qualified fit for your product or service there.

You don’t need much more than a yes and a booking in the calendar from the prospect.

Should people use GIFs, emojis, and videos in outreach emails?

I don’t mind emojis, but you need to test them.

Unfortunately, videos are not always worth the effort. But it can work really well when the professionals do it. For many people what I’ve seen is often poor lighting, bad angles, and mismatched text so I recommend sticking to the basics before moving to advanced tactics.

Closing Remarks

Ben: OK, so hopefully you are a little bit more interested in cold email now and got some actionable frameworks to apply to your own efforts. I really do recommend Alex’s book if you’re interested in learning more in detail because he covers the whole landscape from starting out to building up a team in detail.